Hearing Debates Need For Conscience Protections

Members of Congress have been told that government policies increasingly are forcing religious groups and individuals to violate their moral convictions.

At a House hearing, Bishop William Lori said Roman Catholic hospitals and charities are losing government contracts for refusing to include abortion, contraception and gay adoption in the social services they provide.

Colby May of the American Center for Law and Justice said victories for gay rights are costing people of faith their religious rights.

But the Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State said states that ban gay marriage are violating the religious freedom of clergy who want to perform same-sex weddings.

Democrats at the hearing questioned the need for conscience exemptions from abortion mandates and anti-discrimination laws.

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